The Kerala High Court reaffirmed that an unmarried daughter who has reached the age of majority is not entitled to maintenance from her father under Section 125(1) CrPC simply because she lacks the wherewithal to support herself.
The Court noted that under Section 125(1) CrPC, an unmarried daughter who is unable to support herself due to any physical or mental abnormality or injury may claim maintenance; nevertheless, pleadings and proof in this regard are required.
According to S.20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, an unmarried Hindu daughter can request maintenance from her father until she gets married if she argues and establishes that she is unable to support herself. However, to do so, an application must be made under S.20 of the Act, 1956.
According to Section 125 (1) of the Cr.P.C., an unmarried daughter who has reached the age of majority is not eligible to request maintenance under normal circumstances, i.e. just because she lacks the resources to support herself. However, even though the unmarried daughter who has reached majority is entitled to maintenance, pleadings, and proof in this regard are required if the unmarried daughter is unable to support herself due to any physical or mental abnormality or harm. Otherwise, a Hindu daughter who is not yet married may use S.20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, to request support from her father until she gets married, provided that she can demonstrate that she is unable to support herself and that her application or lawsuit must be filed under S.20 of the Act, 1956.
Challenging a Family Court ruling
The statement was made during a revision petition hearing challenging a Family Court ruling providing the petitioner's wife and daughter with maintenance. Whether an unmarried daughter can make a maintenance claim under Section 125(1) of the CrPC even after reaching a majority was one of the principal issues before the Court.
The attorney for the revision petitioner said that there is no evidence to support the claim that the daughter has any physical or mental impairments or injuries, or that she is unable to support herself. To support his claims, the attorney cited the Supreme Court's ruling in Abilasha v. Prakash & Ors.
The daughter (2nd respondent) was not granted maintenance from the date of attaining majority due to the lack of evidence that she has any physical or mental abnormalities or injuries that would prevent her from supporting herself, according to the court's evaluation of the evidence. As a result, the court observed that the order challenging the maintenance entitlement of the 2nd respondent is set aside to that extent.
However, the Court upheld the wife's maintenance paid to the Revision Petitioner (1st respondent).